GOODWELL, OK (KFDA) - Oklahoma Panhandle State University hopes to keep certified teachers in the Oklahoma Panhandle by offering educational scholarships funded by donations.
Due to a severe deficit of new, certified teachers in the Oklahoma Panhandle, OPSU is using $2 million in educational scholarships to keep teachers in the area.
Oklahoma State Representative Kenton Patzkowsky, who represents District 61, said the scholarship is important for the area where other border states are also competing for teachers.
The competitive scholarship will be offered to eligible students who commit to teaching in the Oklahoma Panhandle for two years.
“The first gift that started this was an anonymous donation of $500,000,” said President of Oklahoma Panhandle State University Dr. Tim Faltyn. “Panhandle State Foundation then matched that gift with an additional $500,000 and Judge Kincannon, the hero of our day today, came in with an additional million.”
The Panhandle Promise Scholarship is a gap funding scholarship, which means that the scholarship will cover tuition costs beyond the students financial aid coverage.
"I hope that we have teachers that will remain in our local school districts, to remain apart of the solution," said donor Judge Ronald Kincannon.
OPSU Freshman Gabrielle Ramos runs cross-country every morning at 7 a.m. Afterwards, she attends classes during the day and then works her night shift job until midnight.
Ramos said the educational scholarship would bring great financial relief and allow her to focus on her dreams.
“I won’t have to work outside of school and I can just focus on my education and focus on just getting as much knowledge as I can from OPSU education program, so that I can expand my knowledge to my students whenever I get there,” said Ramos. “Me, personally, I just want to be able to change at least like one child’s life in a positive way to know that I came into education for the correct reasons.”
By offering financial relief to aspiring teachers, the university hopes to defeat the deficit of teachers in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
For more information about the Panhandle Promise eligibility, click here.